Properly maintaining your earthmoving equipment can save you some significant money and help prevent you from facing hair-thinning maintenance issues. We know that earthmoving equipment is seriously expensive, so it's important that you follow some of these basic maintenance tips.
Of course, money isn't the only reason that you should be conducting routine maintenance on your equipment; worker injury rates are rising, so ensuring that your equipment is clean and safe is critical. So, let's go over some tips that will help you keep your crucial earthmoving equipment maintained year-round.
1 Regularly Lubricate Your Machinery
Without lubrication, earthmoving machinery will sustain long-term damages caused by friction. Since heavy machinery consists of many different moving parts that are constantly impacted by friction, regular lubrication will help maintain the equipment and prevent significant wear-and-tear. Some lubricants have the added benefit of protecting your machinery against dust and debris. It's critical that you consult your manufacturer to discover the recommended lubricant for your machine, as each machine is a unique beast with unique needs.
Not only should you be using the correct lubricant, but you should also be using the correct amount of lubricant. Insufficient lubrication won't correctly ensure that your moving parts aren't damaging your machine, while over lubricating your machine can cause accumulation issues, energy loss, and seal issues.
2 Follow a Maintenance Schedule
One of the best ways to keep your earthmoving equipment in tip-top shape is regularly scheduled maintenance. This means adhering to a strict preventative maintenance (PM) schedule. A proper PM schedule goes well beyond regular lubrication and should include:
- Condition monitoring
- Regular machine inspections
- Machinery repairs and maintenance
- Inspections of specific parts (brakes, gaskets, tracks, belts, oil levels, tires and wheels, cooling and exhaust systems, steering components, safety features, etc.)
- Thorough checking of electric elements
- Cab and engine inspections
- Fuel checks
- Body inspections
- and inspections of any other parts (moving or not) that make up your specific machine.
While it may seem boring and routine, the primary purpose of PMs is to reduce or eliminate gradual failures, which can result in hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of damages.
For an example of a manufacturer recommended PM list, check out Komatsu's servicing brochure.
3 Fully Understand Your Equipment
Having sufficient product knowledge can safeguard you against unexpected issues. For some, this means reading the equipment manual to isolate specifics that may help you in an emergency — or even gradually as part of your PM. Typically, these manuals will give you insights into specific maintenance strategies, best-practices, and give you critical equipment insights.
Of course, this necessity for equipment knowledge goes beyond owners and operators. All employees should be well versed in your heavy machinery. This means that new employees should be thoroughly trained, and established employees should be routinely trained to keep them aligned with new practices or simply as a reminder.
This is important for machine maintenance as well as employee safety, which is the single most important element of the workplace.
4 Keep Detailed Records
Maintaining a detailed record of equipment maintenance is crucial. These chronological records should be well organized and detailed enough to give you insights into your equipment needs and any possible future issues you may face. Not only does record keeping ensure that you understand the current status of all of your equipment, but it also safeguards you against any potential regulatory issues.
When you have the ability to check potential problems as well as maintenance and repair records, you can stay one step ahead of any incoming equipment failures.
5 Notice Wear and Tear
While regular PMs are a critical part of your maintenance strategy, simply identifying wear and tear can go a long way towards preventing significant damages.
So, telling your employees to alert you to any potential new damages on-site can give you some insights into minor problems before they become major ones.
If an employee notices that a piece of equipment has a belt that's starting look misshapen, that information can help you jump on the issue rapidly.
6 Keep Your Equipment Clean
Make sure that your earthmoving equipment is squeaky clean! Don't let dirt and debris build up or it could cause damages down the line. Not only does routine cleaning help prevent build-up, but it can also alert you to significant issues.
Since earthmoving equipment is uniquely sealed to prevent dirt or dust from touching sensitive parts of the machine, a routine clean could expose a seal crack or break that's letting particles into your machines sensitives. You need to fix these, fast!
By following a routinely scheduled PM, regularly lubricating moving parts, keeping your earthmoving machines clean, reading the manual, paying attention to wear and tear, and keeping your employees up to date and well trained, you can ensure that your earthmoving equipment is being properly maintained.
Ultimately, this should lead to lower repair costs, more efficient machinery, and a better workplace environment.
If you're looking for attachments that can match the power and functionality of your earthmoving beasts, contact us.